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1540s, "follower or attendant of a superior person," from Middle French satellite (14c.), from Latin satellitem (nominative satelles) "attendant, companion, courtier, accomplice, assistant," perhaps from Etruscan satnal (Klein), or a compound of roots *satro- "full, enough" + *leit- "to go" (Tucker); cf. English follow, which is constructed of similar roots.
Meaning "planet that revolves about a larger one" first attested 1660s, in reference to the moons of Jupiter, from Latin satellites, which was used in this sense 1610s by German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Galileo, who had discovered them, called them Sidera Medicæa in honor of the Medici family. Meaning "man-made machinery orbiting the Earth" first recorded 1936 as theory, 1957 as fact. Meaning "country dependent and subservient to another" is recorded from 1800.
satellite sat·el·lite (sāt'l-īt')
A minor structure accompanying a more important or larger one.
A short segment of a chromosome separated from the rest by a constriction, typically associated with the formation of a nucleolus.
A colony of microorganisms whose growth in culture medium is enhanced by certain substances produced by another colony in its proximity.
Any object in orbit about some body capable of exerting a gravitational (see gravitation) force. Artificial satellites in orbit around the Earth have many uses, including relaying communication signals, making accurate surveys and inventories of the Earth's surface and weather patterns, and carrying out scientific experiments.